For the 61st Commission on the Status of Women, which will take place at the United Nations headquarter in New York from March 13 to March 24, 2017, Doctors with Africa CUAMM, in partnership with the permanent missions of Italy and Canada to the United Nations, is organizing the event “Leaving No One Behind” on March 23, focused on the issue of the health of adolescent girls in Africa. This is an opportunity to share good practices and the commitment to protect the future of young women and their communities.
Opening the conference Zainab Hawa Bangura, an activist for women’s rights and Sierra Leone’s former Minister of Health, currently the UN’s Special Representative of Sexual Violence in Conflict. The following speech will be held by Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, and the permanent representatives of Canada and Mozambique.
Adolescence is a turning point in a person’s life. It is when we develop our perspective on the world and a time to learn tools to make informed choices for our future. But more than half of the world’s adolescents live in limited resource countries, according to estimates, resulting in increased risk of being exposed to “diseases of poverty,” such as malnutrition and HIV/AIDS. In the case of young women, due to lack of sex education, there is also the risk of early pregnancy with consequences lasting the entire lifetime of the young mothers.
In the words of Doctor with Africa CUAMM’s Director, Don Dante Carraro, who will speak at the conference:
“We believe in the significance of safe motherhood, which means assistance throughout pregnancy, and it also means awareness. This is why we are working in 7 countries in sub-Saharan Africa in order to raise awareness and provide HIV tests not only for future mothers, but for as many young people as possible to stop the virus from continuing to compromise the lives of thousands. Young women’s lack of awareness of their rights can expose them to violence and often to pregnancies in adolescence. This is the second leading cause of death among adolescent girls worldwide, and those who survive are forced to drop out of school and denied a chance to improve their futures. Focusing on young women’s education and health can help improve their individual prospects and their communities’ future as well.”
The “Leaving No One Behind” conference seeks to be a chance to think globally about young women’s health and their role in their communities. It connects diplomatic representatives of Italy, Canada, and Mozambique, and members of civil society, foundations, NGOs, and United Nations agency working in Africa.